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Thread: Fusion of Zaurus and '00 Accord (lots o' pics)

  1. #1
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    Fusion of Zaurus and '00 Accord (lots o' pics)

    Ok, prepare for a long post, but first, something to pique your curiosity:



    What started everything was my desire to be able to have access to all of my music (40+ GB of oggs) in my car. I came accross mp3car.com, and it was all downhill from there. I realized that the most expensive part of a car computer is the display. So I said to myself, why can't I just use the screen on my Zaurus? It's 640x480, touchscreen, it's perfect! And so began my quest...

    I want this post to serve as a guide for anyone who might attempt something similar, so that they don't have to make the same mistakes, and agonize over the same problems that I did. So if you just want the pics, feel free to scroll down, otherwise read on.

    Here's what makes it all work:

    Stuff I had-
    * Sharp Zaurus SL-C750 running pdaXrom (Linux)
    * Old PIII 500MHz, 256MB running Windows 2000
    * Seagate 200GB 7200RPM HD (a bit overkill)
    * Sony CDX-7000X head unit
    * Sony XA-300 Auxiliary Input Adapter
    * LG VX3200 phone (Verizon service)

    Stuff I had to buy-
    * 400 watt inverter
    * Opus 150W DC-DC power supply
    * 8 10' USB extension cables (only using 5, but buying 8 gave me free shipping!)
    * 4 port USB hub
    * 6 AWG wire from a local car audio shop (FYI, don't buy cable from Home Depot, that stuff isn't meant for cars, I found that out the hard way)
    * Lots of other small wire and connectors from Home Depot
    * 80 amp in-line fuse close to the battery (is this too much/little?)
    * Universal PDA car mount off ebay (got it for $10!)
    * LG USB cable

    My first attempt at getting everything together was with the inverter (I didn't have the Opus yet). As soon as I plugged in my computer the "fault" light on the inverter would come on, and the computer would not power on. I spent a while searching these forums, and eventually I found an answer. I had to disconnect the ground wire in my computer's power supply:



    Apparently this is a problem specific to Vector inverters, it seems that other brands of inverters don't have this problem. Obviously this is a bad idea electrically, so I made sure that I grounded the case to the car chassis. Once I did this the computer would power on via the inverter.

    Next, I needed a way of getting the display from the computer onto my Zaurus. Luckily, VNC runs on both Windows and Linux. I did have to setup an "ethernet over usb" connection between the computer and the Zaurus, which was pretty easy. Then I had to create an icon on the Zaurus to make it easy to connect.

    So now I could connect, launch Media Car, and start playing music (by the way, I'm using the USB connection on the AX-300). At this point I encountered the problem that would take me weeks to figure out...

    Clicking and popping noises(!!?!?)

    These noises were completely different from any electrical noise I had ever heard. I spent hours, days, weeks even, grounding to different places, trying different power supplies, cables, connections, NOTHING made a difference! So then I finally broke down and bought the Opus 150W. The Opus arrived, I got everything connected and working, and to my horror, the noises were still there!!!!! So at this point I knew it wasn't engine noise, or bad cables, the inverter, or whatever. Just for the hell of it I tried disconnecting from VNC, and to my amazement, the noise was gone!

    It seems that there is something to do with the VNC connection that is introducing these clicking and popping noises. So this is a pretty big problem, as it means that I really can't be connected to the computer while it's playing music. Luckily I came up with a relatively easy way of disconnecting and reconnecting to the computer. So how it works is, I get my playlist together, hit play, disconnect, then if I need to pause/change tracks/add tracks, I just reconnect, do it, and disconnect.

    It's not perfect, but it beats paying ~$300 for a display!

    Ok, time for the pics...



    My awesome wiring job with the 80 amp in-line fuse.



    A crappy picture of the computer and inverter in the trunk. As it is, I've connected the positive and negative wires from the Opus to the terminals on the inverter. I'm sure there's a better way to connect them.



    The AX-300 and USB hub are in the arm rest. All of the USB and power cables go under the passenger seat and underneath the center console.



    Two USB cables come out beneath the center console.



    The powerstrip on the passenger side. Right now I'm only using it for my Zaurus.



    The CDX-C7000X, USB!!!



    Here's what the mount looks like. All I did was super glue the battery cover for the Zaurus onto the pda mount. So far it seems very sturdy, I'm surprised. Now I just need to order another battery cover...



    The mount from behind, notice the vorbis fish!







    Media Engine in action, stupid glare!

  2. #2
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    continued...



    Media Car in action, I haven't decided which front end I like best yet.



    The interweb! Thanks to this thread!



    For me, this is the coolest part of this whole project. I'm listening to my internet radio station IN MY CAR!!! It's not quite ready for driving while listening, it buffers a lot, but it works!! AM/FM is dead.



    Like I was saying, I have to disconnect to get rid of the noises. So I mapped a key on the Zaurus keyboard to F8 (menu for VNC), then I hit 'exit'. It's actually kind of difficult to do while driving.



    Which brings me back to pdaXrom.

    I know what you're thinking, Xumbi, that's cool, but can it play movies/videos? The answer is yes! Sort of... The VNC connection is way too slow to play videos, so I have to mount the computer's hard drive on my Zaurus, and play them over the networked USB connection. Another drawback is the videos have to be encoded in 320x240. The Zaurus isn't quite fast enough for 640x480 videos. I wrote a script that resizes the resolution automatically.



    Family Guy!



    Gladiator!



    Call for Help!



    I'm not sure why I'd want to, but I can play music over the USB connection with XMMS.

    That's all I have for now. Maybe I'll try to get some night shots later...

  3. #3
    Banned xdjxklusivex's Avatar
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    damn dude that looks hella tight on the small screen good job get a smaller pc tho

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdjxklusivex
    damn dude that looks hella tight on the small screen good job get a smaller pc tho
    Yep, I agree, I will as soon as I can. Can't afford it right now though. As it is, I'll be paying off my credit card for the next month from what I already bought!

  5. #5
    Tainted Love Cris's Avatar
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    Excellent...!!!

  6. #6
    Newbie Windsetter's Avatar
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    That is awesome.

    One question though. Looking around VNC's site I can not see how it interfaces. Could it use a stardard ethernet interface? Or USB like you used on your Zaurus? Which version of VNC's software are you using?

    Windsetter

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windsetter
    That is awesome.

    One question though. Looking around VNC's site I can not see how it interfaces. Could it use a stardard ethernet interface? Or USB like you used on your Zaurus? Which version of VNC's software are you using?

    Windsetter
    VNC will work over any network connection. My Zaurus has the ability to use the USB cable like a network cable. I'm using the realvnc client on the Zaurus, and the server on the computer. I think VNC runs on pretty much every platform but Macs. For example, if you have a pocket pc you can use this.

    I'm still investigating the noise issue. My next experiment will be to setup an ad-hoc wireless connection between the Zaurus and the computer. If the USB cable is the source of the problem, then this should fix it.

  8. #8
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    Where can i buy that small scree with the key pad from?

  9. #9
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    He's using tightVNC. It works on any platform, and it's the best remote control software around (because you can use it from any system and connect to any other system (Win, Mac, Linux, etc).

    The Keyboard and Screen aren't separate peices... they're an integrated unit called the "Sharp Zaurus". You can read about it here - (the first link I found in google).

  10. #10
    My man uses Levitra. Peoples's Avatar
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    my question is how did you make the sony hu say "usb"?

    does your hu actually have a usb connection?
    PC Components:
    Lilliput; XPC/FLEX mobo; 1.7 ghz P4 Mobile;512 DDR; 160 gb HDD; opus 150; slot usb dvd-rw
    My work log

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